VILLUPURAM: A decade after four Irular tribal women were allegedly raped by four cops from the Thirukovilur police station, in a eucalyptus grove, in November 2011, they are still waiting for the trial to begin at the Villupuram (SC/ST PoA) Special Court.
Along with 11 family members, they were allegedly tortured brutally under police custody and are hoping the recent intervention of TN State Human Rights Commission will help their cause.
On Tuesday, SHRC had ordered the State government to provide a compensation of `75 lakh to the 15 victims of police brutality. Though order has given hope to the victims, they are still anguished by the delay in the beginning of trial.
It is reliably learnt that V Gomathi, the then additional superintendent of police and special officer investigating the case, filed a charge sheet implicating five policemen from Thirukovilur police station in custodial violence and rape of the four women. The charge sheet was, however, returned for a few corrections. Since then, it is learnt the police have not filed a fresh charge sheet in the trial court.
“We are not expecting monetary compensation. What really bothers us is that the policemen, who raped us and brutally tortured our relatives, are still free, and no one is holding them accountable,” one of the rape victims told TNIE. The father of the victim, aged 55, said, “The policemen, who tortured us and raped our girls, deserve the highest punishment. But the court has not heard the case at all and it pains me. We need justice more than the compensation.”
SHRC order drew cops’ attention to the case
The families had sought legal recourse with the help of a few activists. PV Ramesh of Tribal Irular Protection of Rights Organisation said a petition was filed in 2012 in the Madras High Court seeking a CBI probe into the case since they suspected the police would be biased and might not conduct probe against their peers fairly. But the court dismissed the petition and ordered a probe by a special officer of the Additional Superintendent of Police rank.
Their apprehension seems to have come true as the police have delayed filing of the charge sheet for years, as a result of which the trial could not be conducted. This is despite the special officer Gomathi filing a report that implicated five policemen of grave charges.
The human rights commission has also cited the said report when it recommended compensation to the victims. Local police sources said the case has gained attention within the department after the human rights commission’s order, and the process to file the charge sheet might pick up pace in coming days.
‘The cops who raped us are still free’
“We are not expecting compensation. What really bothers us is that the policemen, who raped us and brutally tortured our relatives, are still free,” said one of the rape victims